In pursuit of excellence

The one-day conclave was an initiative by The Hindu and Blue Star to bring together change-makers who play an essential role in moulding young minds.

Published - August 14, 2016 05:00 pm IST

Book launch by B. Thiyagarajan. Photo: M. Vedhan

Book launch by B. Thiyagarajan. Photo: M. Vedhan

What happens when some of the brightest minds get together to find a solution to a critical problem plaguing the country in the education sector? A plethora of solutions emerge. Academia and industrialists gathered at The Hindu and Blue Star Excellence in Education conclave in Chennai last week had plenty of food for thought, listening to some stimulating panel discussions on various facets of education. Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi set the tone of the conference by sharing various insightful anecdotes from his life that exemplified how, with the power of conviction, one can bring about change. He talked about three imperatives that are crucial for the education sector — economic, social and moral. He also stressed the importance of the 6 Es for education — education, employability, entrepreneurship, excellence, ethics and equity in society.

The panel discussions ranged from how the growing mismatch between graduate skills and market needs could be countered to attaining sustainability in education and the role of digitisation in education. The Blue Star Guide to Educational Institute Air Conditioning was launched by B. Thiagarajan, joint managing director, Blue Star Limited, on the occasion.

Here are some quotes by panellists during their sessions.

Gap between education provided and industry requirement

Ask yourself – ‘Are industry expectations realistic? And can universities keep pace?’

Prabir K. Bagchi , Vice-Chancellor, SRM University

Let us move on by asking – ‘are we adding value to our students?’

Meeta Sengupta , Founder, Centre for Education Strategy

Make teaching the highest paid profession and all the problems will be solved

Sujith Kumar,HR Business Leader, Infosys

Sustainability in the institutional architecture

Integrating sustainability in education requires an understanding of our heritage, and embracing the fluid nature of change.

Karan Grover,Architect

Sustainability in education

Students should be aware of the basic environmental principles that go into designing of a product.

Pranshu Singhal,Director, Digital Learning Strategy Team, Worldwide Education and Head, Sustainability, Microsoft

We disenfranchise the teachers, we disenfranchise the students to begin with, and then declare them poor quality.

Ashok Jhunjhunwala ,Prof. Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras

We do not look at the root of the problem, but merely at the branches.

Seetha Ananthasivan,Director, Bhoomi College

Digitalisation in education

Digitalisation is increasing the divide in the country. Lack of infrastructure is a major cause of concern and it will require government intervention.

G. Viswanathan,Chancellor/pro-Vice-Chancellor, VIT University

Digitalisation could take the shape of a very disruptive tool. It is up to us to harness its potential. Vaidhyasubramanian, Director, SASTRA University

E-learning should cater to the cognitive abilities of learners. Simply putting up information does not serve the purpose, and converting information into a digital platform does not imply that institutes are leveraging technology.

Mangala Sunder Krishnan,Prof. Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras

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